By 2050, 70% of people on the planet will be living in cities (World Economic Forum). The impact of urbanisation on the environment, the climate, and our connection to nature is evident in rising temperatures, concrete jungles invading green spaces, and how we are NOT taking care of earth.

“Modern living has greatly affected our relationship with nature. We are no longer in touch with how it works and do not appreciate the gifts it offers, and yet nature is essential for our wellbeing and provides everything we need to live. We believe that ecological literacy, the ability to understand the natural systems that make life on earth possible, is now a vital part of the education process. If we can impart this love for nature to children, we know that it will have a positive impact on our world for future generations,” says Tracey Teague, principal of Eduplex Pre-Primary.

“In fact, nature is a gold mine for learning,” says Teague. “We believe that for children to value nature, we must teach them how and why to appreciate it as a love for nature does not come naturally. At our school, we do it through and with our experimental gardens. All the plants, as well as the landscaping, are there for and with a purpose.”

At Eduplex, the garden is an extension of the classrooms. The children learn about shapes, textures, colours, and smells while at the same time this exposure to nature, which they often do not get at home, cultivates an appreciation and love for the natural world.

The deciduous trees teach our children about seasons, cycles, and time. The herb garden shows them how plants can be used for food or medicinal purposes. The lavender plants attract bees, butterflies, and birds. And other plants repel insects. Our desert garden on the one side and the subtropical garden on the other side teach us that some plants (and people) need more water (and care) than others.

Says Teague, “The bird hide and pond also teach our children to be still and observe. And when they are upset and extra active, the sound of the water calms them down miraculously. The children also love catching the tadpoles in the pond and see them grow into frogs and return them to their natural habitat.”

“And you do not need a huge space to teach a love for nature. We are excited to be welcoming 30 teachers from schools in Mamelodi on 18 October 2022 to show them how to do this on a small scale with the space they have,” Teague concludes.

Submitted by H.A.S.S. Group